Doggers 0-2 at regionals; miss state

SUNDANCE – After losing the final two regular season games, the Lingle-Fort Laramie boys’ basketball team couldn’t return to their winning ways at the 2A East Regional Tournament in Sundance last week.

As a midweek snowstorm moved into the area, the team was forced to make the trip north two days before their first game.

“It’s not a good excuse, but the whole situation put a lot of stress on whole project we are trying to get done – trying to get to state,” coach Chris Cook said. “You never plan to have to keep everyone in a motel for four days, trying to keep everyone focused. I should have handled it better, and it affected us.”

The Doggers went into the weekend as the No. 2 seed from the Southeast Quadrant, but LFL went winless, falling to Wright and Niobrara County.

On Thursday, Lingle was beaten by the Wright Panthers, 75-67.

The Doggers led 17-12 after the first quarter.

“We started pretty good,” Cook said. “They are a good team. They could have been the one seed as easy they were the three seed.”

However, Wright battled back with 21 points in the second quarter to tie the game at 33 going into half.

The game was still tied at 44 with two minutes in the quarter. Then, Brady Cook picked up his fourth foul.

“That changes the game,” Cook said. “I took him out of the game, and they go on a 10-2 run.”

The Doggers couldn’t recover from it.

Over the course of the second quarter, the Panthers added 22 points in the third and 20 in the fourth to pull away for the eight-point victory.

Cook led the team with a double-double, including 15 points and 14 rebounds to go along with five blocks. Sophomore Brody Roberts tallied a team-high 26 points, to go along with four assists and five steals. Junior Aidan Mattheus tossed in 14 points.

The loss dropped the Doggers to a must-win against the Southeast Quadrant’s No. 4 seeded Niobrara County Tigers.

It was the third meeting between the two teams, and LFL had beaten the Tigers by 27 and 16 points during the regular season.

“It’s hard to beat a team three times, and when you are the team that has lost, you make more adjustments than the team that won,” Cook said.

Third time was the charm for NCHS, as the Tigers ended the Dogger season, handing them a 66-46 loss.

“Lusk flat out wanted it more than we did,” Cook said. “They are a young team much like us. They were excited to be playing that next day, and I’m not sure we were.”

Niobrara County took a 15-9 lead in the first quarter. LFL trimmed the deficit to 23-19 at the break. The Tiger lead remained four heading into the final eight minutes of the game.

In the final quarter, NCHS poured in 30 points to pull away for the 20-point victory.

The Tigers knocked down eight 3-pointers in the game, while holding the Doggers to a season-low 27% shooting.

“They made a lot of 3s, and we didn’t shoot well, Cook said. “We didn’t share the ball well, and it basically cost us the season.”

Cook led the team with another double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds to go along with seven blocks. Mattheus added nine points and grabbed eight rebounds. Senior Brian McCoid added seven points.

The Dogger season ends with a 14-10 record, which is two more wins compared to last year.

“The margin of error is small moving to 2A,” Cook said. “We just didn’t get it done. We get to bring back nearly everyone. Our guys are excited to come back and see what we can do again at the 2A level.”